Falmouth-based bar owner James Dance has launched an Indiegogo campaign to open a new franchise in London. As proud as we are of our drinking habits at BigRedBarrel, this isn’t something that would normally catch our eye. But Dance’s Loading bar is a little bit different: it’s a gaming venue he has successfully run for more than two years, and he wants to bring that experience to a far busier and gamer-packed city.
Having set up Loading with no business experience, Dance has propelled his pay-for-drinks, game-for-free cafe/bar into the spotlight by creating a variety of drinks in partnership with publishers including EA, THQ and Square-Enix. The bar also sells its own unique blend of 9-Bit Mega Coffee, which can be purchased online through Firebox.
His Minecraft shooters have been featured in Shortlist and on Eurogamer; The Guardian featured six creations last Christmas; and his latest grotesque creations have appeared in the pages of The Sun. You might even know his Deus Ex cocktail from The Drunken Moogle, with whom Dance will be working to create new drinks for the London venue.
Loading is seeking $50,000 via Indiegogo to fund their move into London. The money that’s raised will be used to help seek further, larger investment and to begin the efforts to secure a venue, as well as prepare the future bar itself.
A variety of perks are being made available in partnership with big names in gaming. Lower-tier rewards include drinks vouchers and exclusive t-shirt and hoody designs produced by Insert Coin Clothing. Higher-value tiers throw in goodies including copies of Batman: Arkham City signed by the team at Rocksteady Studios, Mad Catz fightsticks, Turtle Beach headsets or, intriguingly, the chance to develop your own unique gaming cocktail.
Having run Loading for two years, Dance and his team know what they’re doing, and plans for a London venue have been in development since the start of the year. The Indiegogo is essentially an accelerator to propel Loading into the capital faster. That the format has worked so well for this long is a sign that this could be exactly what the capital needs for a different take on a night out: reasonably-priced drinks, free gaming all night, and decent coffee the morning after.